04/17/2015 04:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ocean Waves: A Metaphor for Life's Challenges


I was 7 years old my dad taught me about waves. He grew up in Redondo Beach, CA and he knew the Pacific Coast well. What I didn't realize until much later in life is that he was teaching me a metaphor for life's challenges.

The first wave he taught me to look out for is the most dangerous wave. You can see it coming, its formation is going to crash before you, and you can feel in your gut that it is going to take you down. Once you experience this wave you will never forget what to do next. My dad taught me that with this wave you must wait until you see the calm right before the break. You then must dive deep into that calm space, and without a doubt you will come out the other side escaping all of the chaos above and around you.

One time I took on a dangerous wave. I was about 12 years old, my dad wasn't with me, and I tried to ride it. The wave crashed right over me. It took me down and spun me around. I flipped over and over and over. I came to the point where I truly didn't know which way was up or down. I then felt my knee scrape the sand. I put my foot towards the sand and shot up like a bullet out of the water. I caught my breath. I could feel my lungs expand and I let out a huge exhaling breath. That was the first and last time I road a dangerous wave. I learned that the best thing to do is dive right through it every time or else!

My dad taught me about the second kind of wave to look for: the rolling wave. These waves you sit back and enjoy the peace. You roll over these waves. This is when you talk to the other surfers about life. You teach, you learn, you share with one another.

Finally, my dad taught me about the third wave, the wave to catch. This is the wave where you connect with a force greater than yourself. It is something of beauty; you are drawn to this wave. When this wave starts to form you feel it in your soul. You must swim to this wave, find the calm right in front of it, you turn around, swim on your own until the force syncs with your force. You are in the zone, and it is thrilling; a feeling like no other. You are full of energy. With very little effort you are then able to ride that amazing wave all the way to shore!

This calm my dad taught me about in both the first and third waves; the dangerous wave and the wave to catch, I believe is like God. When things are about to crash before you, you need to let the stuff around you go, and dive deep into the Holy Spirit. Find that peace and then come out the other side.

The calm in the 3rd wave, the wave to catch, I also believe is like God. At first you must seek God, do the work, and then something clicks; a force greater than yourself and you are working together. You are in sync. In life, this is when ideas are discovered, babies are born, art is created, great music is composed, sports records are broken, and miracles happen.

In each of these three life lessons I have learned that connecting to that greater force I call God puts me right where I need to be. When life is rolling along without much effort, don't forget to be thankful. Let your cup fill up and overflow. Share your gifts with others, count your blessings, and thank God for this miracle called life.